Stage 11: Eymet to Pau

Cycling summary

Breakfast: 05:45. Transfer: 0h40. Start time: 07:30. Distance: 203.5km. Terrain: “flat” again (1,150 metres climbing). Climbs: one Cat 4. Finish: 17:15. Time in saddle: 7h25.

Ice cream stops: 1.

Suffer scores: John 2.5/10. Alex 2.5/10.

Local lowdown

Before coming out I looked at Eymet’s official site. There’s going to be loads of floral garlands decorating the streets and bikes made out of recycled materials, including vegetables, apparently. They’ve been calling for volunteers to come and help – the towns and villages we pass through love to make a big effort with the decorations and it all adds to the sense of occasion. It’s the first time though Tour passes through Eymet, whereas Pau is on the agenda most years, being a gateway to the Pyrenees.

Tale from the Tour

There was no extraneous faff this morning, though I did have to walk round the car park twice before I found my bike! I know I am not always the most observant but in my defence there were 80-90 riders today. There will be 115 on the road tomorrow – that’s a far cry from the 50 we had for a big part of last week.

We were quickly out of Eymet and on to big roads, so unfortunately although the stage looked like being similar to yesterday, it was long, hot and boring and back to being passed by lots of lorries again. But at least we did not have the cold and the rain of last week so I’m not complaining. 38 degrees in the sunshine was a bit hot though!

Though I didn’t see any vegetable sculptures, what I did appreciate was field after field of sunflowers which are always a cheery sight, from early morning to late afternoon.

Morning glory
Babs these are for you. At least one bunch for every hour I’ve been missing in action on my training rides.

There is not much else to say about today, given the profile. Something I was told about a few days ago was that my position on the bike was skew. Not sure if I have always ridden like this or if this was just a sign of fatigue (fellow Bigfoot riders can tell me), but I’ve started to address it now. I’ve been told that I am now more balanced – still unhinged of course, but more balanced!

After. A shot like this normally costs about €20, but Rob took this for nothing. Cheers Rob!

Some nice scenery was there to be found:

And the ice cream stop shortly before the end was good too!

What a rabble! We are now so institutionalised that it seemed to make sense to order the same three flavours of ice cream for everybody!

Not much else to report, though it was funny when we were back at the hotel and some of us were sitting around waiting for our turn on the massage table. Ian’s name was called but he wasn’t there for some reason. So one by one we all started saying “I’m Ian”, “No I’m Ian” until someone shouted from a third floor balcony “I’m Ian and so is my wife”. Had to be there I suppose.

That’s pretty much it for today. Suffer scores slightly up on account of being on main roads for much of the day.

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